REAL WEDDING ISSUES | “Alone. Hands shaking. Eyes closed. Mouth open.” A guest’s biggest fear is to screw up someone else’s wedding. We present… “The Rip.”

Happy evening, my loves!  Quick fyi – that gorgeous bride above?  Not the bride from today’s story.  Isn’t she adorable, though?!!  Her expression is priceless; I couldn’t NOT use this image for this post.  Her wedding is coming up very soon on TKB.  You’re gonna love the crap out it, just so you know.

Here’s the question I have for you, when you’re done reading this post or if it’s Shark Week and you’re feeling impatient… Do you have any fears about something going wrong on your – or a sibling’s or friend’s – wedding day?

Ok SO… Whew!  AMIRITE?  Yesterday was prettyyyyyyyy pretttyyyyyyyy emotional, for most of you guys and absopositutely for me.  But I liked it, too.  Felt good, felt right.  Glad we did it.  You see I always second-guess myself a little when I venture into the territory of getting more personal with you guys on the blog.  It’s me delicately shoving extremely personal life stuff that has my extremely personal emotions attached to it, into the huge, gaping orifice (←uhhh) of The Internet, for the entire world to see.  I’m always like, “how are they going to respond to this?  I hope they don’t think it’s too much, or weird.  I hope someone identifies with this super personal, super LONG story I just recounted or I’m gonna feel pretty ridiculous for a week.”  And then, you guys respond.  And I read your responses.  And I smile.  And tear up.  And laugh out loud.  And rejoice in connecting with you guys again, on a cool, real level.

That’s why I never regret it when it’s done.  Ever.  I love how the personal stories have this way of making me feeling a little closer to you guys, which is what makes blogging very rewarding for me, personally.  High kick, woot!

Anywho… I’m pretty freakin’ excited to share this, our newest real life story submission, a story that had me glued to my seat as I read it.  It was submitted by a lovely bride named Natalie, for our ongoing series “Real Bride/Wedding/Life Issues.”   … I need to work on that title.  Natalie’s maid of honor, aka her sister, had a pretty terrible moment on Natalie’s wedding day.  Her story made me laugh because she’s funny, but also shared some real pain about how the experience unfolded.  It’s a story I needed to share with you guys, because it touched my heart in a serious way.

Here’s part of Natalie’s letter prefacing what this incredible story written by her sister, about what went down on Natalie’s fateful wedding day:

I’ve been an avid reader/follower of your blog since I started planning my wedding in the summer of 2010.  One of my favorite features on your blog is the “Real Wedding Issues.”  I wasn’t sure if you accepted submissions for this feature, but I would still like to share our story with you :)  Quick synopsis: 

I got married on March 25th, 2011.  My maid of honor’s dress ripped right before we were heading out for our bridal party photos.  My maid of honor was my younger (and only) sister, as well as my only bridesmaid.  Unfortunately, her dress was beyond repair.  My sister wrote this story for me and I will save/cherish it forever.  I laughed and cried through the entire thing!

Before I (me, it’s back to Alison now) get to her sister’s REDONK story, let me just tell you, I’ve been squinting so hard and long (ew, again!  there it is again!  I am a dirty girl today!) trying to turn all the little square thingies in the PDF document that this submission came as, into the legit punctuation it likely was before it got PD EFF’d, to the point that I fully expect to wake up tomorrow morning with tan lines in the shapes of a thousand squint wrinkles.  Yes, there will be that many.  My squint face conjures images of bulldog and mastiff facial folds.  I squint like it’s going out of style.  I do it HARD.  Go big or go home, right?  Even with wrinkles?  Even with wrinkles.  NO EXCEPTIONS.

HEAD.  STORY.  NOW.  And we begin.  Were you expecting a transition?  Because you’re not getting one.

The Rip | by a bride’s sister (her maid of honor)

I’m standing in a hotel room bathroom. Alone. Hands shaking. Eyes closed. Mouth open. I can’t bear to look. I think I heard it but for the first 30 seconds I am in denial. If I don’t open my eyes, maybe it won’t be true. But sure as this wedding day will be long, I can feel the 42 degree Marriott air-conditioning hit my ribs and I know the sad, sad truth. As tears well up in my eyes, I open them and a wade in the realization that my fat ass just ruined my sisters wedding.

It has always been me and my sister. She walked me into school on my first day of kindergarten. When other little kids would bring stuffed animals on show and tell day, I brought in my sister. As we got older it became more and more apparent how different we were. Tall, thin, beautiful… Athletic, chubby, socially awkward. Though different, she is my only true partner in life. You see, she is really the only person that ever understood me, that made me feel loved — and not the crap kind of love — but the intoxicating unconditional kind. Consistently accepting of my oddness, never making excuses to other people, and cheering me on when I decide I want to pick up another random sport. So, I am sure you can understand when the pinnacle of my sister’s life began with her engagement, I was willing to do the unthinkable and join her in the planning of what I now call BLACK DRESS FRIDAY.

About three months before BLACK DRESS FRIDAY, after a long, grueling MOH attire approval process, my black dress was finally purchased from, let’s say, ShANN ShAYLOR. Because of my work schedule and generally hectic life, I had the beautiful black on black chiffon one shoulder drape cocktail dress delivered — WITH CARE — to my work location. The day I received the package notice from security was like Christmas for grown up girls. You see, I’m not what you call “feminine” nor do I own “dresses” or pay for “haircuts” so this day was EXTRA EXTRA special for me. I tore open the brown ShANN ShAYLOR delivery bag with such vigor and excitement, the smell of parchment released in to the air with a big puff of packaging dust. When the dust literally settled, I unfolded the dress and breathed the largest sigh of relief ever heard in the Midwest. You see, my sister is… well, let’s say, particular and the dress arriving on time, in perfect wedding condition is the least that I could do since I am… well, let’s say, not.

The day of my sister’s wedding can only be described as controlled chaos. Little girls running around a salon with full cups of Starbucks coffee – me and my sister’s friends feverishly folding the final programs with bloody fingers and paper cuts deep as the Chicago River – Running here… Running there… flowers are wrong… bride is crying… the photo guy is kind of creepy. Cartoon Network is blaring for the million children in my sisters bridal party, my 1⁄2 eaten potbelly sandwich is mocking me from the end table, and the make-up artist and I are spread out on the hotel room floor (gross) attempting to tie Martha Stewart bows onto something that I can only describe as dangly place cards. Please reference above and think of my paper cuts.

Finally, its time. It’s time for her dress. It’s time for her jewelry. It’s time for her shoes. I don’t want to miss a thing so I step into the bathroom to quickly dress myself so I can participate in the time honored (and strange) tradition of watching the bride get dressed. I zipped the dress and everything was fine. I bent over to put on shoe and it was either my extra sticky skin or my love for Quarter Pounders or the humidity in the air from the gallons of aerosol hairspray administered just moments before me stepping into the bathroom or a combination of all three but that dress clung to me like a baby spider monkey to his mom and the zipper ripped clean open.

So there I was. Standing in the bathroom, mouth a-gape, and crying. I have been betrayed by my grown up girl dress. In the classic south side tradition, I immediately and ineffectively attempt to hide the evidence. I remove the dress, sit on the toilet, and run the closer up and down the one side of the teeth like somehow if I create enough friction, maybe the zipper with magically jump back on the track. With each fat cry baby tear, black makeup smears down my face and leaves the mark of a wounded bridesmaid solider. I use my teeth to bite through parts of the garment to get the zipper back up. There is a knock on the door. *Picture time!*  I recognize the voice of my sister’s friend that has been strategically trying to replace me for about a year. *Okay.* There is crack in my voice. S**t. I can’t let my body snatcher know something is awry or I will be snuffed out permanently. Another 3 minutes go by and I know. I know. I know this dress isn’t going to be fixed. I know that I just missed by sister getting ready. I know that bitch didn’t. I know that I am not going to be in my sisters wedding photos. I know that my heart is breaking and the one person that I need the most at this very moment is the one person that can’t find out what just happened.

I am sobbing and hopeless and pathetic. I throw up the white flag and walk out of the bathroom, defeated. My sister’s friend Megan walks into the room to grab her purse. We make immediate eye contact and instinctively I say “don’t let Natalie find out.” After several sad attempts to fix the dress — none any different than mine — furious zipping, biting, etc., Megan leaves to alert my mom. As the hotel door closely closes behind her, I catch a glimpse of the creepy photographers face and it devastates me. His face. It was like reading the writing on the wall. Here, a wedding professional, gives me the wide- eyed look of “you just fucked your sisters wedding” mixed with “God I feel sorry for you” with a hint of “maybe if you weren’t so fat.” And only fat people know what I am talking about. You know it — that look. The look you get when your coat doesn’t button anymore or when you need both arm rests in the plane because your boobs are too big for you to cross your arms or when you walk into a store that doesn’t carry a size over 12. It was like that, but worse.

Megan returns with my mom. My mom comes with a plan. Go to a store. Buy a new dress. That was it. That was the plan. Simple. Easy. Megan volunteers to drive me and we take off toward areas of dense population. Megan creates an impromptu escape plan so my sister doesn’t see me. I see her though and she is the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. Veil floating in the wind, her future husband by her side as she as she walks onto her trolley; destination PERFECT WEDDING PHOTOS. I can honestly say I never really knew what people meant by watching their lives go by until that moment. Like that moment in time stood still, just for an extra second.

In the midst of chain smoking parliament lights in the car, Megan has the revelation that maybe we could fix the dress.

“Um… I don’t know. It obviously didn’t fit in the first place.”

“No, we can fix it.”

“Uh… I don’t know. My mom had a plan and usually when I veer from the plan, it doesn’t work.”

“No, we can fix it. I have a tailor.”

Like a trapped prisoner of dress war, Megan drives me to her tailor… a Chinese tailor… a polish tailor… each time, having to relive the horrific event.

“My friend’s sister just ripped her dress and the wedding is in an hour.” Over, and over, and over again, I had to hear this story be told to the United Nations of tailors and dry cleaners. Over, and over and over again, I was told the plain truth – it won’t be fixed.

To add salt to my wounds – emotional and physical (paper cuts) – Megan then took me to boutiques. Again. Only fat people are going to know what I am talking about here. There are no dresses in these places for people like us. I am not thin. I am not even thick. I am just not going to be able to squeeze my body into anything in these stores. One after another – “no, we don’t carry her size” “oh, sorry, we don’t have anything in her size in black, good luck though.” It was like being slapped in the face with shards of glass repetitively until I was so disgusted with myself, I wasn’t even crying anymore because I deserved this. I have this coming – from all the fries I eat – from all the beer I drink – from all the daily calories I consume. I’m not worthy of being anyone’s MOH let alone my sisters MOH because I can’t even manage to fit into a dress.

My mom calls.

“Did you get a dress?” “No.” “Why not?” “Because she took me to tailors.” “Why? That wasn’t the plan.” “Yeah, I know.”

“You need to get a dress. Get a dress!!! Call me when it’s done.”

I tell Megan that I need to get a dress and she heads towards a mall. With impressive driving skills, she skids into a Macy’s parking lot and hustles me out of the car. Like a Tasmanian devil, she swirls through the dress section, spouting and unrecognizable language: a-line, strapless, shades of black, material. I am confused and disoriented as she pulls me into the dressing room and rips off my clothes. Like a quick change at the Oscars, Megan had me in and out of 15 dresses in less than 10 minutes. I refused to take my pants off because in my rush to get out of the hotel, I did not find it necessary to put underwear on and though Megan is great, you can’t see the who-ha without the moo-la.

Dress on body, shoes in hand, we head to the ceremony site and Megan hatches an execution plan — which is much better than the tailor plan. She arranges for us to meet back up with the makeup person, she has three bottles of hairspray in her car, and promises she can have me up and running in 10 minutes before Natalie arrives. I believe her; and so it was done.

My husband found me outside and said:

“You’re mom told me what happened.”

“Yeah. Ifeelreallystupid.”


“I don’t know.”

“Did you rip the dress on purpose?”


“Did you show up naked?”

I laugh. ”No.”

“Then f**k’em. She still got married, right?”

This is about as riveting as our conversations get. Something in the last sentence struck me. My sister still married the man of her dreams. Yeah, my dress ripped and yeah it sucked but at the end of the day, BLACK DRESS FRIDAY was still successful in obtaining its goal; marriage. My sister is still my best friend, and is hopefully over the tragedy, but now my husband is a solid back-up BFF, just like her husband is to her.

xoxo!  - Natalie’s sister

And now, before we get to the end of today’s post, I present to you the long awaited story (from last week Friday or something) of Bambino + Kittehs = DISASTER.  Setting: vet’s office.  Evening.  The air is crisp, with the faintest smell of pee permeating the atmosphere.  It is everpresent.  There are brand new kittens in the corner of the waiting room.  Bambo is overjoyed… until he isn’t.

Bambo: “Wait… are there… do I feel kitties behind me?”

OMIGOD mom, dad, can I play with the kitties?”

Sure, Bambo.


*sniff sniff*

“The kitties seem to be stuck behind some sort of forcefield I cannot penetrate.”

“Mom Dad, I’m having trouble getting to the kitties.  I’m excited, but confused!  I’m pretty sure the kitties are waiting for me, I can’t let them down!”



“CRAP.  CRAP.  We were wrong, the kitties are bad…”

“Let’s go, I’m ready to go RIGHT NOW.  I swear I’m going to pee right here on this floor if we don’t go RIGHT NOW you guys.”

So, people of Earth, I haz a kestion…

First off, this girl can tell a story, eh?  I love the way she writes.  Ok, but more importantly, can anyone identify with her and her absolutely worst-luck-ever-for-a-sister-at-a-wedding?  Do you have any fears about your wedding?  Or maybe a sibling’s or friend’s wedding?

xoxo!  – Alison

Jesse D. Green Photography is a member of TKB’s Vendor Love.  You can explore more of Jesse D. Green Photography in our guide!

*Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.  You were, and you will remain, an inspiration to us all.

Label(s): Real Life Issues

Love all of this...


  1. Mary Garnes on October 5, 2011

    Oh my gosh. I feel for Natalie’s sister!!! That’s a worst nightmare. I got married as an over-size-12 bride, and I can’t tell you the similar horrors I went through, with dresses not zipping and fitting.

    The most brutal part about getting married was dealing with insensitive tailors and shop owners. One of my few complaints about this wonderful industry, after having gotten married and worked in it, is the size bias that is reflected through the industry.

  2. Amy on October 5, 2011

    It is so refreshing to read something on a wedding blog that comes from the perspective of someone who isn’t a size 2. I really feel for the bride’s sister… because I pretty much AM her sister in a way. I mean my dress hasn’t ripped during an important event, but I can so identify with the emotions this girl went through on that day. You’re not alone! Girls like us, we’ve all been there!

    I hope no one gets me wrong, because I love wedding blogs (especially this one :D) and all the stories and weddings they feature, whether or not the girls are my size. I’m not trying to complain about wedding blogs. But you just rarely see or hear stories from brides who aren’t on the small side.

    Thank you for sharing this, and thanks to Natalie’s sister for sharing her story! I can see that her sister clearly has a great support system, which is so important. Thanks to Natalie for being a coolass sister ;)

    I promise, last thing before this turns into a book – I read yesterday’s post too and oh my god I love this blog so much. So touching and real. You’re awesome!!!!!!!! Keep on keepin on!

  3. Libby on October 5, 2011

    Thank you for another post that reminds us that it’s the people who matter and not the stuff! It hurts me to hear people think that a rip or stain can ruin a wedding. It certainly will not! I think these things only enrich our experiences. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Elle on October 6, 2011

    I have not forgotten about you guys… 4 weeks until wedding event kick off. 5 weeks until house #1 closing, 5.5 weeks until house #2 closing… ugh

    More relevant: this story broke my heart! Natalie’s sister: You are amazing! I wish I had a sister an eight as dedicated as you are. The simple fact that you were so broken about “messing up” her day is just a testament to how exceptionally perfect you are! We look at glossy magazines and expect that our weddings will be perfect, but the simple fact of the matter is all of that stuff means nothing compared to having a sister who is genuinely happy for you, genuinely excited to share your day and genuinely loves you with all her heart. You made her day perfect by being a perfect sister – no ridiculous dress could detract from that.

  5. Katie on October 6, 2011

    Omg, omg. I laughed AND cried. I’m close with my sister too and related to Natalie’s sister. Especially the part where she called her sister’s friend her “body snatcher”. hahaha!

  6. Rachael on October 6, 2011

    OMG I feel so bad for Natalie’s sister! I don’t know what I’d do if that happened to me, I’d be freaking out! Funny what she said about her mom’s plan-I totally get that and agree. If mom has an idea for how to handle a hairy situation, don’t stray from the plan! LOL.

  7. Natalie on October 6, 2011

    I’m so happy that you decided to post this story for one of your real wedding issues. My sister is truly, one of the most amazing people that I know! I love her to death! I’m truly blessed to have her as my sister!

    And it’s truly inspiring to know that so many people can relate to her. She loved this!

    Thank you again!

    I’ve also posted this on my blog, but I have absolutely no idea how to do trackbacks yet. I will eventually figure it out.

  8. Claire on October 6, 2011

    that was the best wedding story i’ve ever read! i love the personal stories. that’s what people (esp me) want to hear. i love it! keept it up!

  9. Claire on October 6, 2011

    i’d also love to see a picture of her bridesmaid dress

  10. I really like weddings on October 9, 2011

    wow! what a story! I love reading personal accounts of what goes on “behind the scenes” at a wedding. There’s always so much pressure to have everything perfect…but usually it doesn’t go exactly as planned. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Colleen {Soundtrack To I Do} on October 11, 2011

    Oh my goodness what a nightmare. I’m glad everything worked out for the most part, and that the two girls have their back-up BFFs for husbands (cutest concept ever, BTW.) She tells a great story!

    And… I loved the Bambino storyline. Hilarious.

  12. Gia on October 12, 2011

    Ok you deserve a round of applause. Awesome story.

  13. Gia on October 13, 2011

    I dont know what to say. This blog is fantastic. Thats not really a really huge statement, but its all I could come up with after reading this.

  14. I once got a dress stuck around my head, on my upper arms- so my head was covered my the dress- my arms were trapped pointing straight up towards the ceiling and I couldn’t see anything. I was in a Nordstrom Rack dressing room for 45 minutes trying to get it off, crying, my whole body turned bright red and the dress was starting to rip. I thought I was going to have to hobble, blindly, 90% naked out of the dressing room to get the assistant to cut me out of it. I couldn’t bend my arms down even, it was so tight and SO STUCK.

    It was the most awful, embarassing and miserable clothing experience of my life.

    I finally got it off and ended up with BRUISES where the dress had constricted around my upper arms and shoulders/under arms.

    NIGHTMARE. I sat in my fat girl underwear and cried some more afterwards.

    Probably went out for a happy meal right after too. THE CYCLE CONTINUES!

    Poor Bambino, you know, my kitty LOVES to play with puppies. Send him over anytime!!! See my puppy and kitty wrestling:

  15. Camille on October 19, 2011

    Hi there- its me, Natalie’s sister. What’s funny is that I have been called Natalie’s sister pretty much my whole life… and now published on a popular blog as, you guessed it, Natalie’s sister. It’s okay though- I’ve been called much worse… to my face… by my mother. I kid, I kid. If you want to read more about my hilarious yet devistatingly pathetic life, you can visit my blog at the URL above or follow my blog on facebook under Drinking With Strangers. Enjoy!



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